New spraydeck design for 2012

Just officially announced the changes in the spraydeck configuration. Finally, there will be a cockpit/hatch style opening to be closed with a skirt like traditional kayaks have. The boat cover will permanently stay and the skirt goes with the paddler. The cockpit contains a frame of aluminum poles. No change in weight compared to the older deck. A big change though! The development we all have been waiting for.
Large opening for convinience

Actually, in my opinion this is a bigger change then last years introduction of the new shape with the pointy stern. Why? A dry lab is of greater value than a larger butt ;) Honestly, I was little bothered about last years introduction as this seemed not my limiation in white water. However, a dry deck was! 

Secure rim for proper fit
Though a great improvment the long tail is (for speed and balance), I have seen few people who came to there limits wit the pre-2011 model. With the new spraydeck it might be vice versa. Long chains of heavy water rapids now do no longer fill the boat up. No need to stop and dump the boat resp. an opening up for long technical streches. 

This will be the breakthrough in the kayaking community!

That said, it is only my personal opinion. Altough the opening is quite large and almost feels like an open boat, there might be people who prefer the classic zip off deck. Also, some might be more comfortable with a velcro closure and no need to pull a line while capzising. This version of the deck will also be continued to be available of course.
High reaching chimney for total dryness. The closing can be covered with your PFD.
Anyways, I think we face a serious problem, unfortunately.The worlds finest packrafts?  Not anymore, I have to say!

Packrafts become Packyaks ;)

In retrospect this is a logical development and especially kayak folks will say, sure why ever bothered with other types of spray decks? The hatch style closing has long been proved the most effective. I can only say, if development would have went this way - reduction and lightening of boats starting from existing shapes and types of watercrafts - we would have never reached a sub 3 kg boat! There was a need to start from scratch and have a backward development. This invention needed its 10 years probably.
All been said is subject to testing on the water of course. But I have little doubt for the performance.

However, there is one thing I can already say being important to customers. The new spray deck covers the back end unflexible (in contrast to the previous deck) and reaches quite far forwards. That means, one is forced to sit more forward, eg have the backrest fully inflated.  

I noticed the tendency of people to lean backward. I could clearly see how the flexible 2011deck compensated sizings. Not a big deal, but this needs to be taken into account. If on edge with one size, this could mean the need to move up one.

If anyone has question about my impression on the new design feel free to ask. Also, I would be pleased to have a viewing for those who are closeby in Germany.
Please note that these decks effectively become available not befor the beginning of January. They will be sold 250$,  which is an Equivalent of ~250 € in the EU currently (taking into account the import duties).

Discovering a new species? Taking a closer inspection!

The rim/pole/zipper construction

A need to pull for exit (left) and reaching far forward (right).

7 Kommentare:

  1. Visually the boats are indeed very close to white water kayak now. Every design definitely has its pros and cons. Concerning the 2012 spray deck I'm wondering now how to make a wet exit and re-entry with this design while in the mean time trying to hold on to your paddle? And if the raft fills with water, how easy can the water be removed with the permanent skirt? Looking forward how the pro's will put this design into use.


  2. Joery, out of my experience with kayaks, one has hardly to pull the line actively. In 95% of capsizes body weight and knee pressure will open the skirt. In the remaining 5% you don’t care too much about the paddle ;) Any case, one hand is actually enough to grap the line.
    Your second question concerning the boat fill up, I don’t see that happen either, as the opening is so large. Let me confirm on this one once I‘ve been to the water, which is unfortunately freezing up currently ;)

    The issues I see with the new deck are the following:

    1. On a wet reentry one actually needs BOTH hands as well as a quiet spot to close the deck, basically an eddy or the shore line. No more one handed “quick and dirty” closure like with the Velcro.

    2. The inflexible back does make the boats less comfy and will not compensate sizes resp. the fit (tight/relaxed).

    3. The boat generally feels more technical and requires a couple minutes more to assemble.

    4. The boat will be perceived and thus used as pure water craft. We must not forget on the core feature – its portability. Thus have to promote the hiking, biking and gereral travel ;)

  3. But can it be rolled? If it can't it's still just a raft and not a kayak.

  4. Hi Bryan, provided you install thigh straps, it can be rolled, as done previously (see link above). However, does the definition of kayaking really depend on that? There is actually a systematic (at least in German) by the style of power, not the craft. According to this, you are kayaking if you use a double bladed paddle (in contrast to canoeing and rowing), regardless of the boat :) Any case, to question is the value of such academic discussion ;) Names are dust and shadow. I 'd say, no matter what you do, go do. I personally don't care what you call the lates spring offs. Don't take my ‘categorisation’ too serious :)

  5. I have been asked about the packing size of the new deck parts. Good point! The longest segment of the pole is 64 cm. The smaller ones have a curve of 10 cm. That is typically the size of a standard 4-Part collapsible paddle, one has along anyway. No big deal. They assamblesquite fast also, like with tent poles. Put together, fit in and close the zipper, thats it. It has a technical touch though.

  6. I'm hell of an axcited about this new spraydeck! The older deck is not what has limited my packrafting (for me it's about the lack of skills) but being wet is uncomfortable and at least my 2011 deck kept opening by itself even after adding 5cm strips of extra velcro. The new one looks great!

    And it seems that one could still leave the spray skirt and pole segments at home (like one was able to do with the zippered 2011 deck) if needing the boat only for easy rivers or water crossing on a trip? Though fitting two people starts to seem impossible.

  7. Sure, you can leave the poles and skirt. The boat will stay intact. The two person, one boat option however is very limited (maybe only for short crossings face to face).